Cultural Politics and Populism in Europe and America Online Event Featuring Stephen Davies
Please join the Competitive Enterprise Institute for an online discussion of the intersection of today’s political realignment and the partisan response to the pandemic featuring Dr. Stephen Davies.
In recent months, the collapse of fusionism – the alliance between free marketers and cultural conservatives – has been more and more evident. CEI president Kent Lassman will moderate a conversation between economic historian Steve Davies, whose theory explains why this has happened so quickly and Iain Murray, who makes the point that free marketers appear to have forgotten how to talk to conservatives.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
12:00 – 1:00 pm
What we can see in both the U.S. and most of Europe is a realignment of politics away from divisions over economics, toward a new divide around questions of culture and identity. As seen in the case of Brexit, economic questions were only initially primary for remain voters and barely counted for leavers.
What though is the new divide? David Goodhart has described it as a split between 'somewheres' and 'anywheres.’ However, that approach makes it as much a matter of psychological predisposition as ideas or interests. On closer examination, we can see a whole series of cultural divisions, many over apparently completely non-political subjects, which also correlate with physical, sociological and economic divides, above all the ones produced by the meritocratic labor market. This means that politics is increasingly going to be about non-economic, often symbolic issues. In this world, the key arena is metapolitics, the use of cultural production to influence and shift attitudes and sensibilities. Alarmingly, in Europe it is the radical right who are most aware of this.
Dr. Stephen Davies is a historian and author of several books including, most recently The Wealth Explosion: The Nature and Origins of Modernity. Previously, he was Head of Education at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, and visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University.